The Labrador Boundary

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28 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Barrington–Ward.

28 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Barrington–Ward.

Viscount Haldane.

Mr. Barrington–Ward.

28 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Barrington–Ward.

p. 310

The LORD CHANCELLOR : That is what I want.

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD :Yes, my Lord. But would your Lordships mind noticing that he has liberty to cut timber in the “ Rivers, Brooks or Creeks for the said Fishery only, provided it be at Six miles distance from the Sea Shoar.” At any rate, he had to go six miles in.

Viscount HALDANE : There were fishery rights established there.

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : Yes, my Lord. With regard to Labrador, there are one or two cases, and if I may I will just give you short references to them. There is a case of Mr. Coghlan in Volume III, on page 1269. He is writing from a place called Fogo, which is in Newfoundland, to the Governor of the day, who was Governor Montagu. I think it will be quicker for me to read it. What he says is this : “ Having already done myself the Honour of writing you at large by this conveyance, being one of My Sealing Schooners called the Advice, I am under the disagreeable necessity of laying before you an Account of some Illegal proceedings which had happened of late at my Settlements on the N.E. Coast of Labrador ; referring to the farther relation of such given by my Agent at that place which I now hand you, and first begging leave to pray you will excuse my troubling you on this occasion, I shall take the liberty of communicating to you the Mode of my first establishing a Fishery at the former Coast, flattering myself that your Excellency, in your wise consideration will judge it equitable to confirm the possession granted unto me by your Predecessor, as you find in every respect I make use of the same to the no small Advantage of supporting so valuable a Nursery to the British Marine.” I submit that if that statement is correct, the submission that I am making to your Lordships is also accurate.

Viscount HALDANE : This is only the coast.

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : Yes ; it is a settled fishery on the coast. It it something on the coast which indicates a permanent settlement there. I will not read the whole of this, but just this one other passage, where he goes on to point out, that : “ Early in the Government of my very respected good friend Sir Hugh Pallisser, and by His recommendation I was the first English Subject that settled in the Seal Fishery at Chateaux, so long back as the year 65, and finding it most eligible to pursue the Cod and Salmon Fisheries farther North on the said Coast, I fitted out an armed Sloop to guard against the Esquimaux Indians ”—and then your Lordships see, he says : “ and having Lord Rutherford on board, then Lieutenant of the Niger, the late Sir Thomas Adams, Commander at Chateaux, the said Sloop proceeded on a Discovery from the former Port to Cape Charles, Alexis, St. Frances, and Porcupine Bays, on the North Coast of Labrador, and on her return encouraged by Sir Thomas Adams, I communicated my intentions to Sir Hugh Pallisser of Settling a Residence at the former places, for the purpose of carrying on a Cod and Salmon Fisheries, in whose answer to me on the occasion

p. 311

he says ‘ pursue your undertakings on the Coast of Labrador which are highly recommendary to me, and no after Commer, shall dispossess you.’”
Your Lordships see that that is something very different from a mere casual visit for a season, by somebody who is under a duty to return to England at the close of the season. This is a man who, provided he complies with the Act, is entitled to settle there ; and, I submit, to use the land as far back as he likes, for any purpose that he likes ; and there is no valid reason for saying that his user of the territory, where he is permitted to settle, is limited to one mile or forty milts of the coast. If he is allowed to settle there with the consent of the authorities, he is entitled to exercise any rights, so long as they do not invade the rights vested in other persons.
Then he goes on to point out that he has been disturbed in his settlement. I do not think I need read anything further on that page. There is a Report from his Agent showing what had happened, and how people had come and interfered with his salmon fishery. Then at the top of page 1272 he says this : “ and as I ever understood from my first settling on that Coast, that no Person had a right of Possession or residence there but such as were protected annually by Ships fitted out from Great Britain, as also that in Consequence of my having been one of the first settlers on the North part of said Coast, which I explored at a very great expence, my said Possessions were confirmed to me ”—He explored the coast, and could have gone in for any distance.

Viscount HALDANE : Just see what the Governor says. The Governor says : “ I have no jurisdiction, because this has gone to Quebec, but I will send you a Naval Lieutenant to take care that you are not molested.”

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : I am very much obliged to you Lordship for pointing that out, because that reinforces the point which was made by my learned friend, Sir John Simon, this morning, that there was all the difference in the world. The Governor knew it, and knew what his position was.

Viscount HALDANE : Nobody disputes that. The Governor was commanding the local fleet there. He was a sort of policeman.

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : May I read what the Governor did say and then comment upon it for a moment. What he did say was this : “ I am to acquaint you that I have been obliged to appoint Lieutenant Schomberg Commanding the Labrador Schooner to be my Surrogate on that part of the Coast of this Island, laying between St. John's and Fogo, not being able to spare a Man of War, as has been customary. I am sorry to hear you are so unhappily circumstanced with respect to your Servants employed on the Coast of Labrador, and particularly so, as that Coast and Islands have by a late Act of Parliament been reannexed to the Province of Quebec ”—“ reannexed,” your Lordships see.

p. 312

It is not put under the care or inspection of anybody, but it is re–annexed—“ which puts out of my power as Governor to render you any Service.” Then he says : “ I have ordered Lieutenant Schomberg to attend you to your settlement.” The Lieutenant went up there and made a very fine order of a very drastic nature, which is on page 1274.
The point that I want to make about that is that here you have in 1775 a perfectly clear case of a settlement on the coast, not limited by metes or bounds, but you have here a gentleman entitled to take as much territory as he wanted, with no prohibition upon his doing so, and he is protected in his possession—that is the interesting thing, because it illustrates the other point as well—he is protected, not by the Governor, because the Governor had ceased to be a Governor.

Viscount HALDANE: He was a naval policeman.

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : Yes, my Lord ; but my submission upon that is this, that if this had happened in 1773, the position would_ have been quite different. Governor Palliser, in the cases with which he dealt, was dealing with them as Governor under his Commission, as the responsible officer for administering the affairs of that territory.

Viscount HALDANE : I do not know whether he was or was not. It may be that all through this there was a great deal of trouble.

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : Your Lordship will remember that Sir John Simon this morning gave you the references to two Letters in which this subject was most particularly discussed. There was not any confusion about it. When they put the territory of Labrador back into the territory of Quebec, they quite deliberately re–annexed it to Quebec ; they altered all the Commissions and they altered all the instructions, and they discussed between themselves as to how the different powers were for the future to be exercised. Governor Montague, writing there, has that in his mind ; he has been instructed to that effect, that he has no longer any authority over Labrador. In my submission, before that time, he had authority, and so far as this settler in Labrador was concerned, he had a perfect right to settle there, and would have been entitled in the year 1773 to call for the Governor's protection, and not merely from the assistance of some Naval Police.

(Adjourned for a short time.)


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